Industry Stakeholders Call for Progressive Use Of The Internet
As part of efforts to safeguard the Internet, especially among the Nigerian students, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and other well-meaning Nigerians have called on fellow citizens, especially the students to be mindful of what they put online.
The call was made, yesterday at a Cyber Security Awareness Forum, organized by the Center for Cyber Awareness and Development (CECAD), Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) and the Nigerian Communications Commission in commemoration of this year’s World Safer Internet Day.
This year’s theme, ’Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you’ is in tandem with the need to train and inform active internet users in Nigeria about the dangers of online technologies and how users can keep themselves safe online.
Mr. Haru Alhassan, Director, New Media and Information Security, even though the NCC as the regulator is doing everything within its regulatory framework to make the Internet a better place, it is also necessary for the citizens to protect themselves.
Alhassan, who represented the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, noted that the Internet is one of the best things to have happened in the history of mankind, unfortunately, some people have chosen to use it for the wrong purpose. “Cybercrime has been on the increase in Nigeria, so it is part of our responsibility to educate people on what actually constitutes a crime in the virtual world,” he said.
He stated that the Commission is committed to promoting online safety for everyone. This, according to him is being done by raising awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to equip the Nigerian public with the tools and resources they need to stay safe. “We urge every Nigerian to take steps to create a safer Internet – even small actions can make a huge difference in defending from cyber threats,” he added.
Also, for Mr Sunday Folayan, President of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), Nigerians should learn to display hygiene using the Internet, even though it has today become the youngest but biggest PLANET with unlimited opportunities.
“The Internet is a tool that has helped to expand our horizons, but my advice would be that Nigerians should be mindful of what they post online because whatever is put in the online space remains there forever and could come back to haunt you,” he advised.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of Medallion Communications Limited, Mr Ikechukwu Nnamani, protecting online users should be a priority for both parents, the schools and the government.
He advised parents to take necessary simple steps that will help people stay safe and secure while surfing the web whether on a personal computer, tablet or smartphone. He listed some of the steps to include using a long, unique password made up of numbers, letters and symbols on all devices and accounts.
Other steps, according to him, not sending passwords via email, not using free Wifi and setting up password recovery options and keeping them up-to-date and reporting or flagging of content that is abusive or illegal.
Meanwhile, a software developer, Mr Rock Adote, stated that as much as Social media and the Internet have created unimaginable opportunities for human being, businesses and government, Nigeria has one of the most uneducated, but richest cybercriminals in the world.
An aunt, who is reputed as one of the best software developers in Nigeria, especially in the banking industry, noted that the wrong use of the cyberspace can be attributed more to a lack of ethical and moral soundness.
He advised that one of the ways cybersecurity can be reduced in Nigeria is through awareness creation. This, he suggested the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) should take up by creating a cybersecurity session in the monthly Telecom Consumer Parliament.
“While awareness is important, I also believe that the government should work closely with the owners of social media platforms to be able to curb some of the excesses emanating from the use of social media,” he advised.
The essence of the World Safer Internet Day is to showcase the Do’s & Don’ts of the Internet, how to protect child online, how to stay safe on the Internet and using the Internet for productivity.
According to Bayero Agabi, President of the Center for Cyber Awareness and Development (CECAD), the dangers of uncontrolled Internet access for children are enormous just as the benefits are huge.
Bayero believes that many children are experiencing cyberbullying and have unrestricted access to pornography. “Every second, 28,258 internet users are viewing online pornography. The average age of a child’s first exposure to pornography is 11 and that a total of 90 percent of children between ages 8-16 have pornography online,” he quoted a recent report.
He added that the vulnerability of children in the cyberspace gave rise to the issue of child online protection, which he urged need a global approach that would help reduce the access of children to materials that are harmful to them on the Internet.